Tim “Barrel Man” McKernan, who died in 2009, was probably the most famous superfan that the Denver Broncos ever had; bearded and somewhat heavy-set, he attended every home game (missing only four) for thirty years. Banded Oak Brewing, which also has a love of barrels, had decided to honor the Barrel Man’s ways with a limited-edition T-shirt the brewery will sell on Sunday, November 6, during the Broncos-Raiders game.
“Our graphic designer, he comes up with funny ideas, and we were playing around with Broncos themes,” says Banded Oak owner Will Curtin, "and the barrel seemed to fit.”
Curtin, who was a Broncos season-ticket holder for a few years, grew up in Alabama as a die-hard college football fan, but added the Broncos to his list of favorite teams when he moved to Colorado (even though they share the same colors as Auburn, the University of Alabama’s hated rival).
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The brewery only has 36 shirts, which will sell for $20 each, to start with, but Curtin says he hopes they catch on and that he'll have to order more. Banded Oak opened earlier in 2016 and plans to serve multiple barrel-aged beers. It currently has two on tap, both aged in Cabernet barrels, along with several other beers, and is planning to release two more barrel-aged beers in bottles later this month.
Here is a profile of the Barrel Man, as written by the Pro Football Ultimate Fan Association, where McKernan was inducted into the group's Ring of Honor in 2009:
"In all types of weather for thirty years, Tim McKernan attended every home game (minus four games) at both Mile High Stadium and INVESCO Field at Mile High wearing nothing but an orange barrel that covered his torso, a cowboy hat, and boots. On the colder days, he would add a pair of gloves. His iconic barrel started with a simple bet, and it turned into a national icon of fandom.
He first wore a barrel in 1977 after making a $10 bet with his brother over whether wearing one would get him on television. He won, wearing one painted to resemble an Orange Crush can. The soda was also the nickname for the defensive of the late 1970s."